Although I enjoy painting in both watercolor and oil paint, transparent watercolor is my favorite choice of medium. I visualize a work that is often inspired by the natural world around me. I go through the steps to create it in my mind before I actually paint. As I begin working with watercolor, I am watching the paint as it moves, blends and creates washes, sometimes unpredictably. The process is fun and exciting! I also enjoy how watercolors can be transparent or opaque and that you can combine them with other mediums like gouache for example. As I draw, paint and compose, I break up and divide the picture plane. Elements of design, such as line, shape, color and forms, are emphasized for expression. My process includes mixing and layering the watercolor pigments, creating values, glazes and transparencies and observing what the watercolors will or will not do. My next step in the painting process is to determine what effects I wish to emphasize in order to bring the painting into harmony. I would classify my style simply as contemporary.
It is essential for artistic development to paint from direct observation. What an artist sees in the natural world with his or her naked eye teaches the artist how to visualize, and gives him or her a better understanding of light, form and composition. I worked in watercolor from direct observation for a very long time, rarely if ever using photography as a source. My favorite method of painting was always en plein aire. As a result, I am particularly drawn to the landscape. Light and the sounds of nature inspire me and uplift me. Light and shadow create forms in the real and natural world and as time moves on, those forms change. I have to work quickly and effectively as a plein aire painter.
When rural New Jersey winters set in and frigid temperatures make it difficult to work outdoors, for common sense reasons, I began referencing my own photos so I could continue working all year round. As I continued to use photography more I began traveling outside of rural New Jersey to Philadelphia and to NYC to photograph the architectural landscape and people moving freely about and interacting with their urban landscape. I can take photos of cities, suburbs, towns and rural landscapes and use them to work from my studio. So my subject matter broadened. The photos also record the light and shadow of a particular moment in time. I see now that combining my own photographs of the places I visit with my memory and direct observation of the natural world has had a positive effect on the way I create, compose and develop my palette.
I choose not to copy a photo exactly, I keep in mind that I am creating a painting not a photo, and at some point will turn away from my photo source, so as not to rely upon it completely. I can omit things that exist in a photo in order to simplify my compositions. Sometimes there are just too many things in a photo, too much information that may clutter the composition of a work. Less is more! I believe simplifying my subject matter to its most essential components enhances the form and composition of a work. Paintings can be like visual stories. Every work of art anywhere has something to say. My stories come in the form of a peaceful, rural NJ/PA landscapes or the hustle and bustle of a big city. When I run out of things to say I know I need to take a break for a time untill something stirs me again.
Bucks County Herald, "SFA Holiday Invitational is all about Inclusion,"
The Star Ledger, In the Towns section,
Sharon Sheridan, “Peaceful Art Balances an Eventful Life,”
Thursday, October 11, 2001.
Hunterdon Review, “Ken Lockwood Gorge Inspires High Bridge Artist,”
Jon Marcin, Wednesday, September 1, 2004